Over the past 20 years, human resources professional Victor Melendez has achieved proficiency at a host of HR functions, including recruiting, compensation and benefits, and training. In his current role as an HR consultant, he advises numerous clients on these and other HR issues. One of the areas of human resources in which Victor Melendez is particularly adept is employee relations and labor relations (E&LR), an area which is frequently less visible than some of HR’s other functions.
The term labor relations and employee relations, in the context of human resources, refers to different aspects of the same issue, the relationship between an employer and its employees. Employee relations refers to the relationship between the employer and individual employees, while labor relations generally refers to the employer’s relationship with the labor unions that represent its employees, as well as myriad HR-oriented compliance issues.
E&LR can have a significant impact on the workplace. In addition to interpreting and ensuring compliance with collective bargaining agreements and employee policy manuals, a good employee and labor relations function will counsel members of the management team on effective leadership and discipline. The function also educates management on issues like the Americans with Disabilities Act and sexual harassment legislation.